Darting about the Countryside

By Ivor Jones

I was going to call this item “A MOTORING OUTING” because I often relate to my wife that when I was a child in England my father, at one time during the mid 1950s, decided that we would go on a trip by motoring around the countryside to see a little more of England. dart

What my father really wanted to do however is visit as many pubs as he could to play darts and go to Ascot for the horse racing.

My father was a champion darts player in the South West of England winning many trophies and prizes and was also a bit of a gambler, hence the visit to Royal Ascot. There was barely a week that his photograph or an item featuring him would not appear in the “Bristol Evening Post” holding on to a trophy or prize of some sort.

At the time he had entered the “News of the World”. National Darts Competition in which I had been told he came 7th in the competition. Only recently did I consider that perhaps the “trip” may have been to enable him to compete in heats for the competition.

I did not however inherit his talent for darts in this regard. My wife thinks that the term “Motoring” is old fashioned but still rather quaint.

Whilst we were living at Cabramatta, my father joined Cabra-Vale Diggers and captained the darts team and for a while was also NSW Clubs Darts Champion. But I have digressed from what this article is about.

I am sure that many readers have enjoyed driving around the country from time to time. Country drives have changed since I first came to Sydney.

A drive to Campbelltown, Windsor, Central Coast etc would have once qualified as a country drive as you passed through farmlands, orchards and bush.

Not so much now-a-days would such a drive be considered a “country day trip” but thinking back to times when I would drive to Wisemans Ferry when the “Bull & Bush” hotel at Baulkham Hills or Old Northern Road shops at Castle Hill were practically considered the end of suburbia. You would then enter the farmlands and orchards areas of the Hills district.

I thought of those times recently when, towards the end of the most recent Covid lockdown, my wife and I decided to drive to Wisemans Ferry whilst sticking wholly within the boundaries of the Hills Shire driving a round trip going and coming back along different routes.

We started by driving North along with Windsor Rd through Kellyville and Rouse Hill to Boundary Rd at Box Hill where we turned and followed Boundary Rd to Cattai Ridge Rd at Maraylya and follow that road eastwards to Halcrows Rd at Glenorie where we turned north-west until we met up with Wisemans Ferry Rd.

We continued on to Cliftonville Rd which we followed down towards the Hawkesbury River which we then drove alongside to Wisemans Ferry.

After a relaxing break and a bite to eat we returned home along Old Northern Rd passing the mysterious McFarland’s Grave near the Maroota Public School. Just who was McFarland? Do you or anybody know?

Grave For Ivor S Page Darting About The Countryside

In earlier times on our trips to Wisemans Ferry we would have passed roadside stalls selling a range of local produce, we may have called at one or two of the farms and purchased a couple of bags of manure also or perhaps called into the Yoothamurra Kiosk for a snack or Devonshire Tea.

We may have also stopped for fuel at Dural during our trip or some may have stopped for lunch or a drink at the Wisemans Ferry pub or had a picnic in the park. Perhaps we would have stopped at some of the various lookouts along Old Northern Rd overlooking Wisemans Ferry.

It was and still is a very popular spot within our district with a relaxing village atmosphere and a country feel about it.

Do you have any memories of drives you have experienced in the Hills and Hawkesbury regions? If you do, why not write and share them with us.

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